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Floor Sweeper Glossary 

Floor sweepers are an important tool for collecting and removing debris and dust, and these machines are available in a wide variety of formats. The range comprises from manually operated sweepers for small areas, through to ride-on machines for larger surface areas. Selecting the right floor sweeper means considering the type of floor, the size of the area to be cleaned and access.

The operation of an industrial sweeper is basically quite simple and consists of one or two disc brushes which rotate and sweep the dirt back into the machine. The dirt is swept by a cylindrical brush, back into a collection tank for subsequent disposal. On the face of it quite straightforward, but there are many factors to consider when operating or purchasing a machine

Industrial sweepers - things to consider

Below are some of the technical terms used by manufacturers which we hope is useful.
To download the Glossary click herePDF image

Terminology What does it mean? Why does it matter?


The physical dimensions  of the sweeper

The dimensions of the body of the sweeper. It does not necessarily include the side brush or brushes. The dimensions are particularly important if access to the cleaning area is limited by doorways etc

Cleaning /Working Width

The effective width of floor cleaned

The cleaning width is determined by the size and placement of the brush, and is different from the machine width. This is relevant for estimating how long it would take to clean a floor (along with the machine speed for ride-on machines).

Climbing Rate

This is the incline that the machine can surmount. It is normally expressed as a percentage

If the machine has to cope with any sort of slope or uneven floor, particularly if it is to be used outside, then the climbing rate is an important measurement.


Working Speed

The speed at which the ride on sweeper operates effectively

This will determine the speed of cleaning and the time taken

Hopper Capacity

The vessel that contains the swept up debris.

The greater the capacity of the hopper, the more debris it can collect, reducing the time take to empty. The design of the hopper should make sure that deposits don’t fall back out when it is full


The tools that do the cleaning


The configuration of brushes on the sweeper. They can be located on the side of the machine or in the middle or both. The side brushes are useful for sweeping against walls or cracks.


Filter Area

Sweepers create dust during the cleaning process, the filter prevents the resulting dust recirculating in the surrounding air

he filter will collect dust and will eventually need cleaning, the larger the area the less often this will need to be done. Some machines have a “filter shaker” deposits the collected dust from the filter into the waste hopper.

Max Area Performance

The area that can be cleaned, normally expressed as square metres per hour

Enables a sweeper to be selected that can clean an area in the shortest time. Bear in mind this is a theoretical figure and factors like the floor surface and the amount and type of dirt to be cleaned have an impact

Machine Weight

The total weight of the machine normally in Kg

The weight is a consideration for the operator. It is also important to consider the design of the machine making sure that the machine is designed to make the weight manageable. If a machine is too light it may tip over or turn too easily.

Power Source

Manual, battery or Engine

Because the range of sweeping machines is so large, a small sweeper may be pushed manually by the operator whereas a large ride on sweeper is often powered by a diesel, petrol or even lpg driven engine. If the machine is to be used inside, this may determine whether a battery or engine powered machine is preferable.

Sound Level

The noise the dryer makes in operation

This is particularly important if the machine is to be used when other operatives or the public are present, normally the acceptable level is 63dBA.

Choosing a floor sweeper is a big decision as efficient floor cleaning is an important part of any cleaning regime in industrial or commercial premises. The type and size of floor, the motive power, as well as the type of dirt being removed influences the choice of machine.

It is best practice to seek advice from industry experts who have the floor cleaning equipment experience and there is always the option to hire a machine for a trial period to see if it fits the bill.

Need advice? Give us a call and one of our floor sweeper experts will be happy to help.